Community support has ensured Dubbo's Michael Egan Memorial Book Fair has made an emphatic comeback from COVID disruptions.
Organisers of the annual event that could not be held in 2020 report it had a "phenomenal" opening on Saturday.
Strong demand for books continued on the second and final day on Sunday, when fiction and children's titles "just walked off the shelves", book fair coordinator Peter English said.
It was the 11th running of the event, run by the Rotary Club of Dubbo Macquarie as a memorial to charter member Michael Egan, who died from cancer in 2007 at the age of 49.
Proceeds from the book fair go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service's (RFDS) Dubbo Support Group and cancer research.
"So after a respite in 2020, we had enough books for two years for our book fair, and this year the community has not only supported our book fair with donations, but they've come out, and yesterday was just phenomenal," Mr English said.
Sales figures had yet to come to hand on Sunday, but Mr English said they would be "definitely 15 per cent" and "maybe 20 per cent up" on 2019, the last time the book fair was held.
He also estimated foot traffic had climbed and that the average spend was higher.
"Two years ago, the average spend was about $11, $12, somewhere in that vicinity per person through the door," Mr English said.
"Now it would have to be a little bit higher, I would have thought, probably around the $15 mark."
In the lead-up Mr English had pondered how the book fair would go after "such a year" as 2020.
The weekend had shown it was "booming back" and he suggested the pandemic lockdown had actually stimulated demand for books.
I think COVID's probably made people think what's important.Book fair coordinator Peter English
"I think COVID's probably made people think what's important," he said.
"And I know from Meals on Wheels, our clients relied on books to help them through the lonely period, which was fairly traumatic for the elderly.
"I think they find comfort in reading."
- See more photos of the book fair here
Mr English thanked the RFDS's Dubbo Support Group members who had been "troopers", helping from set-up onwards, LeaderLife, and JM Forklifts and others for supporting the event.
"There's lots of people who support us in so many ways, and we wouldn't be able to run it and give to the RFDS and the Bill Walsh Cancer Research... we wouldn't be able to do it if we didn't have community and business support," Mr English said.
Michael Egan's daughter Charlotte Egan attended the event, which Mr English hoped would reach a total fundraising tally higher than in 2019.
"It's nice to know our fundraising goes to two organisations that directly and indirectly support Dubbo," he said.
"Michael Egan, who was our charter member, unfortunately died of cancer and his family were very insistent the beneficiaries be for research of cancer, and also for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which was so good to Michael."
Among the patrons finding treasures was Valeena Baker of Tottenham, who was going home with two big bags of books on Sunday.
"Mum's been before, but I haven't, this is my first time here," she said.
The teacher said she had found some resources for work, gardening books to help her with her own yard, and books about Australian history or by Australian authors.
"I think the book fair is fantastic," Mrs Baker said.
"It's a great way to recycle books - it's easy to have them on the shelf and not read them again, so this is a good way to pass them on to someone else.
"New books can be expensive, so having second-hand books makes them easier to access.
"I hate to see books chucked out, so much knowledge goes to waste."
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